The Good The LG Volt offers great battery life and LTE connectivity for a small amount.
The Bad Overcast, uninspired hardware and a low resolution screen are the reasons for this low price. The call quality is also disappointing.
The Bottom Line Affordable LTE connectivity and long battery life can be hampered by poor call quality, but the low cost can just sway people.
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We have many budget smartphones in CNET (see ours making the best non-contract phones for $ 250 or less , for example), and they all trace this fine line between cutting costs and providing a fair amount of functionality. The LG Volt is a great example: it is available without a contract at Boost Mobile for only $ 100 (about £ 65 or $ 130). This gives you LTE connectivity and great battery life. But you’re also stuck with medium-sized cameras and a low-resolution display.
If you are looking for a smartphone that will impress your friends, play the latest games or take great photos, this is not the phone for you. Volt is aimed directly at people with limited budgets or those who just don’t want to spend all that much on a cell phone. The Volt is not a particularly impressive device, but low cost LTE connectivity combined with long battery life can make it fun for people on a budget.
Design and build
- 4.7-inch, TFT resolution 960×540 pixels (234 pixels per inch)
- 5.18 in. By 2.6 in. By 0.41 in. (131.6 x 66 x 10.4 mm)
- 136.1 grams
The LG Volt is a common black plastic hob with a 4.7-inch display. There is nothing to distract or glamor: squats, an oval home button sits in front, framed by a capacitive backrest and menu buttons. The volume controls sit to the right and the lock button to the left. The headphone jack and the infrared emitter sit at the top, while the micro-USB charging port, flanked by stereo speakers, is at the bottom.
The screen has a meager 960×540 pixel resolution, which eliminates HD video or high-resolution images. But otherwise the display is great: the off-axis viewing angles are not particularly wide, but the colors look clear and firm, even when the phone is moving. Pixel density of 234 pixels per inch means that the text from web pages and messages also looks clear enough.
Non-inspiring design fits the price, but if you’re a Boost Mobile customer, I’m personally inclined to Motorola Moto E 4G LTE . This phone is a bit smaller and does not have a removable battery, but it is offered at the same price as a charming, in its own way a little chubby.
Software and features
This is a Boost mobile phone, which means you have to go through a lot of pre-installed apps. Most of these are just shortcuts to the Google Play Store, so you’re left with a pretty clear device if you spend a few minutes cleaning up your junk.
The phone comes with the older Android 4.4 KitKat operating system, which is a little invisible. Google has made every effort to keep apps and features separate from the operating system, so you can still use things like Google Now or the latest Mail. But you’re still missing out on the amazing design changes Google has made Android 5.0 Lollipop .
Instead, you get the LG Optimus interface. This is not a dramatic departure from stock Android, and is primarily focused on replacing the icons and adjusting the color gamut to the picture. LG’s own applications are also quite useful. There is a fast remote control that turns your phone into a universal TV remote, taking care of the aforementioned infrared emitter. There is also QSlide, which lets you display selected apps on display in their own floating windows to get a little bit of impromptu multitasking. Volt also offers NFC connectivity, so once Android Pay heads up you should theoretically be able to use it.
Battery Performance and Resource
- Quad-core Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz
- 8GB of storage
- 1GB of RAM
- 32GB expandable storage
- 3000mAh removable battery
The 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor doesn’t win any prizes, but it is well worth the price. You will encounter a problem with more intensive hardware games, but I have watched Grand Theft Auto 3 and it works quite well here. Casual games and most my favorite games for android work well too.
LG Volt test results
|3DMark Ice Storm||2,873|
|Geekbench 3 (multicore)||1,153|
|Geekbench 3 (single-core)||341|
|Camera boot time||1.7|
Volt’s performance on synthetic benchmarking tests was also in line with competitors. These synthetic tests do not translate directly to real-world performance, but they do give you a rough idea of how you can expect the phone to work in the real world.
There is only 8GB of storage, but turn the back of the case around and you’ll find a microSD card slot with support for up to 32GB of extra space. There is also a 3,000mAh removable battery if you feel the need to stock up. I didn’t need it: the phone was rated 24 hours of talk time, and it took an average of 16 hours and 21 minutes in tests to track the CNET video playback battery.
But this is a budget smartphone, so connectivity is probably the most important factor here. Increase mobile Sprint’s piggy bank, and the performance here in San Francisco is not bad: I saw an average of about 13.2 Mbps and 8.96 Mbps.
LG Volt (Boost Mobile) average data rates
|Average 4G LTE download speed||12.2|
|Average 4G LTE upload speed||8.96|
|Temple Run 2 app download (46.2MB)||53|
|CNET mobile site load||4|
|CNET desktop site load||5|
LG Volt Call Quality Sample (Boost Mobile)
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The call quality was less satisfactory: I never had problems with dropped calls when I was in a place with a strong signal, but the people I spoke to complained that I sounded dull and a little muffled – listen to the example of voice quality above to taste what to expect. Because of this, your own experience with data and call quality will vary depending on your location and factors such as time of day.
- 8MP rear camera
- 1080p HD Video (30fps)
- 1.3 megapixel front camera
I didn’t expect too much from the LG Volt 8MP rear arrow, and it worked as expected. Given strong, direct sunlight and a static object, you get a useful, albeit noisy, image. The camera tries to offer much more.
The edges and curves on the objects are not as sharp as you would like here, but the colors are played fairly and the detailing is not too bad.
The colors here look dull and faded, which is not comforting. The front camera of the LG Volt, which has a 1.3-megapixel front camera, has similar issues, resulting in dim, muted skin tones. Although the rear camera is capable of recording 1080p video, it suffers from the same limitations as the camera.
The LG Volt is not going to knock you down, but you do get a LTE connection, not a $ 100 contract. In terms of performance, it’s also not too bad lining up Huawei SnapTo price . Both the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime and Huawei P8 Lite will offer better performance and more durable cameras, but both cost twice as much as the Volt.
The LG Volt is showing a strong price tag and I am still beaten Motorola Moto E 4G LTE at this price level it is largely a matter of personal taste. If you’re looking for long battery life and don’t care if your device looks a little boring, the LG Volt is a great, budget-friendly choice.